With the outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19 showing no signs of easing, small businesses support payments will help many businesses trade through the disruption.
Announcing the rising case numbers each day, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian remains adamant that higher vaccination rates will allow the government to ease the tough restrictions.
“Life will be much freer than what it is today once we get to 70 and 80%,” Berejiklian said in August.
“It doesn’t mean we’ll be completely free. It doesn’t mean that we will let the virus be rampant in the community no matter our number of cases, but it will be freer than it is today.”
Here are the key coronavirus support measures available to small businesses in New South Wales.
COVID-19 business grant
This grant program offers one-off payments of $7,500 to $15,000 to businesses depending on how much their revenue declines.
To be eligible, businesses must have annual wages less than $10 million and turnover between $75,000 and $50 million. Employers must also maintain their employee headcount as at July 13 and experience a decline in turnover of at least 30% over a two-week period during restrictions compared to one of three periods. These periods include:
- The same period in 2019;
- The same period in 2020; or
- The two-week period immediately before the Greater Sydney lockdown commenced on June 12.
Businesses can apply online before September 13.
COVID-19 micro-business support grant
Businesses with annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 can apply for $1,500, tax-free, fortnightly payments as long as restrictions continue.
To be eligible, businesses need to show they experienced a decline in revenue of 30% or more and that a person associated with the business is reliant on the business for income. Applications are open and will close on September 13.
This cashflow payment will see businesses receive fortnightly payments of up to 40% of weekly payroll, with a maximum payment of $100,000 per week or $1,000 per week for sole traders.
Eligible hospitality, tourism, and recreation businesses with turnover between $250 million to $1 billion can receive a maximum of $500,000 per week.
Businesses must maintain their employee headcount as at 13 July to be eligible as well as experience a decline in turnover of 30% or more, and have recorded annual revenue of between $75,000 and $250 million. Applications are open and will close on October 18.
JobSaver payments are available from week four of the lockdown.
Payroll tax relief
Payroll tax deferrals for last financial year and a 50% reduction on payroll tax for 2021-22 are available to businesses in NSW.
All businesses can defer payroll lodgement and payment for 2020-21 until December, with payments not due until January 14 2022. They can also request an interest-free payment plan of up to 12 months.
The reduction of 50% for 2021-22 payroll tax liabilities is only available to businesses with wages between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover. More information is available at this Revenue NSW website.
The New South Wales government is re-introducing the National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Leasing that mandated rent relief to tenants affected by the pandemic last year.
The new regulations will be extended until January 13, 2022 and will require landlords to renegotiate rent in line with the National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct. The code requires landlords to provide rent relief in proportion with their tenant’s decline in turnover. Of the rent relief provided, at least 50% must be waived and the rest deferred.
The code applies to commercial and retail tenants with a turnover of up to $50 million who qualify for the COVID-19 Microbusiness grant, COVID-19 Business Grant or JobSaver Payment. It will also prohibit a landlord from evicting or locking out a tenant for certain breaches of the lease unless they have first renegotiated rent and attempted mediation.
A new $40 million Hardship Fund will also be set up to give monthly grants of up to $3,000 to small commercial or retail landlords who provide waivers of at least the value of the grant and any land tax relief they are eligible for.
The New South Wales Small Business Commissioner will update its website soon with more information about negotiating rent reductions and how to access free mediation assistance.
This article was first published on August 17, 2021 and has been updated to include the additional support announced.